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The Edgar Marquess Branch Papers span the years from 1939 to 2003, with the majority of the materials dating from 1960 to 1990. Through correspondence and writings, they document Branch's lifelong research on nineteenth-century American author Mark Twain. Important correspondents include such Twain scholars as Fred Anderson, Louis Budd, Cyril Clemens, Robert Hirst, and Henry Nash Smith. Topics chiefly focus on issues concerning academic writers, and Twain's life and literary output. Although the bulk of this collection concerns Branch's work on Twain, it should be noted that Professor Branch was also an eminent scholar of James T. Farrell, a twentieth-century American novelist best known for his "Studs Lonigan" series (1932-1935). Branch's papers are organized into three series: Correspondence, Special Projects Files, and Writings. Although Branch taught for many years as a Professor of English, there are no teaching materials in the collection. However, the correspondence may contain some references to teaching American literature and to activities as a faculty member at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

The Correspondence Series, the largest series in the collection, is organized into two subseries. The Individuals Subseries documents Branch's contacts over many decades with numerous Twain scholars, literary critics, and former students. There are also letters concerning his contacts with institutions such as the Mark Twain Boyhood Home Association. The Journals and Publishers Subseries contains Branch's correspondence with many well-known publishing firms and academic presses. Most of the correspondence is routine in nature but attests to Branch's lengthy and prolific writing career. In a few cases, drafts of writings are attached to his correspondence.

The bulk of the Mark Twain Special Projects Files Series consists of documents that pertain to Branch's service on the Board of Directors for the Mark Twain Project, based at the University of California at Berkeley, from 1980 to 1990. Administrative files and grant application files make up the majority of the materials.

The Writings Series consists of manuscripts and galley proofs of the Early Tales and Sketches of Mark Twain, Volume 1, and the page proofs for Early Tales and Sketches, Volume 2. Branch co-edited both of these volumes, which were published in 1979 and 1981, respectively.